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Sandy Clevenger

My name is Sandy Clevenger.  I became a board member in Spencer County in January of 2007.  We hired a new Superintendent in June of that year. 

In 2008 The Attorney General's office facilitated an open meetings training for our board.  During that training, it was made clear that the Superintendent's evaluation does not qualify as an exemption under KRS 61.810(1).  It was also made clear that the reason for the executive session must be specific and more than just a recitation of the statute.

Soon after, our chair scheduled the superintendent's evaluation for executive session.  I filed a complaint with our chair who did not respond.  I then filed a complaint with the AG's office.  The attorney general found in my favor. (08-OMD-165)  Unfortunately, if you disagree with the AG's opinion, your only option is to sue the original complainant. Rather than accept the AG's opinion, my board decided to collaborate with the Superintendent's association which is powerful and well funded. They sued to overturn the 08-OMD-165.   The weight of upholding the AG's opinion fell to me.  Luckily I had the support of my husband who agreed that if I every planned on using the law as a reason for taking a particular action while on the board, I must stay the course, regardless the cost.

The courts eventually found in my favor but did not leave a pathway open for me to recoup legal fees. The Superintendent's Association then proceeded to do what they should have done from the start when disagreeing with a statute.  They lobbied their legislators and got the law changed so that formative discussions must now be held in executive session. I believe it is contrary to the rights of the public to know but I do comply.  The person who introduced that bill got the legislator of the year award from KSBA.

I was lucky enough to be connected with a young lawyer in a reputable office who believed in my cause.  She did her work pro-Bono which greatly reduced my legal bill. Even with this, it was a large financial burden.  Most people don't feel they can place this kind of financial burden on their families when the broken law does not impact them directly.  Some larger news papers will take up this task but most districts are left with no one to champion the open meetings/records cause. I believe this is a shame because transparency is the one thing that lets the people of this commonwealth know if their government is carrying out their duties.



Sandy Clevenger resides in Spencer County with her husband. She has 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

Sandy worked as a Special Needs Preschool Teacher from 1990 – 2002 and as a Preschool Coordinator from 2002-2006.

She was elected to the Spencer County Board of Education in 2007 and continues to serve on the board to this day.


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